Quantifying protein folding pathways

Jose L Parra, Florida International University


A deep understanding of the proteins folding dynamics can be get quantifying folding landscape by calculating how the number of microscopic configurations (entropy) varies with the energy of the chain, Ω=Ω(E). Because of the incredibly large number of microstates available to a protein, direct enumeration of Ω(E) is not possible on realistic computer simulations. An estimate of Ω(E) can be obtained by use of a combination of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. By combining different definitions of entropy that are valid for a system whose probability for occupying a state is given by the canonical Boltzmann probability, computers allow the determination of Ω(E). The energy landscapes of two similar, but not identical model proteins were studied. One protein contains no kinetic tracks. Results show a smooth funnel for the folding landscape. That allows the contour determination of the folding funnel. Also it was presented results for the folding landscape for a modified protein with kinetic traps. Final results show that the computational approach is able to distinguish and explore regions of the folding landscape that are due to kinetic traps from the native state folding funnel.

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Recommended Citation

Parra, Jose L, "Quantifying protein folding pathways" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298595.